We continue on from France.
Brazil returns in between the Morocco and France Pavilions. Ordinarily, the Marketplace would be painted yellow.
But this is actually the L’Chaim booth from the Festival of the Holidays.
Like most of the other Marketplaces, Brazil has pared down its menu to just two food items and a couple of alcoholic drinks.
Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions – $6
The tender Pork Belly is served perched on top of a bed of black beans with a tomato and onion relish placed attractively on top. The pork remains tender, but it’s also still bland and stringy with salt as the only flavor that really stands out. The black beans underneath were more like refried mush than the al dente textural contrast that we’ve seen in the past. This is one of the more interesting items served at the Festival, but it’s difficult to recommend with the varying quality of execution. When it’s good, it’s very good, though.
Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread – $4.50
What is now $4.50 buys you two of these surprisingly gluten-free, biscuit-y-looking cheese bread spheres. They actually arrive frozen and are then baked – if you visit Garden Grill after the Festival, you may find a handful in your bread basket as I did a couple of years ago. Anyway, these have a nice, light airy-ness to them with a mild cheese flavor. The gooey texture is almost like they’re not cooked all the way through, but once you get over the initial shock, they taste pretty good and there’s just enough cheese flavor to make them addictive. Like the Soup in Canada, a lot of people are willing to ignore the hefty price in order to get their cheese on. That could be you.
M.I.A. Beer Company Barbossa Black Beer – $4.50 or $8.50
The Barbossa is unique to the Festival as far as I can tell and follows the typical flavor profile of the style – coffee, cocoa, and dark roasted malts. Carbonation is light, making it easy to drink in the Florida heat with a crisp aftertaste. It’s worth trying as you probably won’t find it elsewhere.
Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $11
The Caipirinha (ky-pee-REE-nyah) is Brazil’s national cocktail. Cachaca is mostly unknown here in the U.S., but the pure sugar cane spirit is the most common hard liquor in Brazil and is becoming better known here in Florida with the influx of South American restaurants and bars that are popping up around the state. We didn’t much care for what we were served on day one – the drink was thin and incredibly bitter. It’s an expensive proposition given the fact that it’s still served in this thimble-of-a-glass. The French Martini Slushy is a safer bet for similar money.
The Pork Belly is iffy – about half the time it’s one of my favorite dishes and the other half of the time it’s one of the worst items we’re served. The Cheese Bread returns as a surer thing along with the beer. These frozen drinks are rarer at the Festival this year, but the Caipirinha is probably going to be a tart sugar bomb and it’s served in such a small vessel that it almost doesn’t even deserve to be called a cup.